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The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Jordan Ward [REVIEW]

Kevin Frazier

While in transit to Madame Lou’s on Friday, I had no idea how lacking the term “concert” was going to sound when describing Jordan Ward’s performance as I stepped out of the foggy basement, embracing the chill of Seattle spring night after the show. The sounds of traffic dampened from two hours of standing under a speaker that would be heavy enough to crush me if my luck happened to run out on the cold evening of March 8. Jordan Ward took the stage to a chorus of attendees singing “BUSSDOWN,” the opening track off his most recent album, “FORWARD.”

“Still I keep thinking ‘bout

Four or five years from now

And how all this will pan out

But deep down, I got a good feelin’;”

–Jordan Ward, “BUSSDOWN”

These lyrics are a decent representation of my feelings from the performance. Many of Ward’s songs have hopeful and thankful messages, and Ward exemplified this theme between songs. He’s come far in the past few years, from working as a backup dancer to headlining his own tour. I will do no justice to his sincerity in trying to write about how Ward, now 28, discussed his mental health and ambition. I found the message of hope and gratitude that Ward preached very succinct and realistic for the mostly young adult audience that sold out his show months in advance.

Kevin Frazier

He played all the hits, with almost every song eliciting a sudden outspringing of cheers and cries, yells of joy when the first note was recognized. It’s my favorite part of any performance—the sudden widening of eyes and smiles as you see something you personally love appreciated by those around you. 

His song “DANCE MACHINE,” performed around halfway through the experience, sounds as if the producers were limited to the musical instruments present at a well-funded children’s playground. I mean this as the highest compliment. “DANCE MACHINE” was one of my most-played songs last year. It’s the perfect amount of distraction; any worry existing within me is swallowed by the hypnotic climb and descent of what sounds to me like a playground chime. Ward, halfway through my beloved ballad, coalesced a Frank Oz level gravel effect onto his voice, and out of nowhere it sounded like the Cookie Monster was the interscope records signee who I’d rushed to see perform. I had no complaints. The autotune on Ward’s microphone warped every yell, scream and/or drawl into a harmonious addition to every song.

Ward has been living in California for a good few years now, but made it very clear that St. Louis, Missouri is his true home. He’d pick up one of the proudest southern accents whenever talking about home, joking with the audience or really at any moment he had the chance, even adding a southern drawl to his vocals mid-song on occasion. Ward’s energy never dipped, making good use of his previous occupation throughout the concert and eliciting the cheers of those with the best view of his one-man tango.

Kevin Frazier

This show had my favorite encore sequence of any I’ve attended. After the final drum hit on “SIDEKICK (with Joyce Wrice),” Ward sprinted off stage. Most of the shows I’ve attended usually draw out this moment, pushing the limits of how long the audience will cheer after they said goodbye and left the stage, mysteriously without performing their most popular song.

Within seconds, Ward was sprinting back on stage as “FAMJAM4000” burst throughout the venue. This wasn’t even the first time he’d pulled this gag this evening. Around 30 minutes earlier, he’d sprinted away and out the door, only to draw more cheers moments later. In all honesty, I too would be playing some audience peek-a-boo to get the assumed rush of taking the stage in front of a crowd who paid to see you, and only you, if I was in his position.

I enjoy Jordan Ward’s music because it contains a balance of certainty and chaos that I desire and envy. It was exemplified during this live performance, and I’d recommend anyone to attend if they have the chance.

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  • D

    Apr 10, 2024 at 10:38 pm

    I was there!! Amazing pics from an amazing show